Today in History: Siege of Vicksburg

On May 28, 2013, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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The Mississippi Civil War Sesquicentennial continues and in the coming months we will be highlighting Museum Division collections related to 1863 and the Civil War. Special thanks to Nan Prince, assistant director of collections, for writing this series.

May 26–July 3, 1863 – The Vicksburg Campaign:  The Siege of Vicksburg

Shingle and nails from Pemberton's headquarters. Accession number: 2001.20.1-2 and 2001.30.1 (Museum Division collection)

Shingle and nails from Pemberton’s headquarters. Accession number: 2001.20.1-2 and 2001.30.1 (Museum Division collection)

President Abraham Lincoln called Vicksburg, Mississippi, “the key” to winning the Civil War, and General Ulysses S. Grant launched the Vicksburg Campaign in the spring of 1863. The campaign was a series of battles and maneuvers that led to the eventual siege and surrender of the Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River.

Battle flag of 1st Mississippi Artillery, Co. A (Withers Light Artillery). Accession number: 1968.43.1 (Museum Division collection)

Battle flag of 1st Mississippi Artillery, Co. A (Withers Light Artillery). Accession number: 1968.43.1 (Museum Division collection)

After two failed assaults on Vicksburg, the “Gibraltar of the Confederacy,” on May 19 and May 22, General Grant decided to lay siege to the city. While cutting off all supplies and communications to  Vicksburg, federal troops began constructing thirteen different approaches to the Confederate line. Lt. Gen. John Pemberton set up his headquarters in a home in the city known as “Mrs. Willis’s House.” In this house, Pemberton led his operations and endured the long siege. The nails and shingles pictured above were from the Greek Revival home that served as Pemberton’s headquarters. Also pictured below is the battle flag from the 1st Mississippi Artillery, Company A (Withers Light Artillery), which participated in the defense of Vicksburg.

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The Coker House, continued

On August 26, 2010, in Museums & Historic Sites, by Amanda
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Today, we continue with the Coker House, built in 1852 near Edwards in Hinds County. These images show the interior of the house before and after the MDAH restoration of 2008-09. For exterior photographs and a little history, see the previous post.

This image shows the wide center hallway that was a common feature in houses of that era.

Devastation wrought by time and the elements.

You can see the elements original to the house above–the mantle and doors.

The Coker House is located about 3 miles east of Edwards on Highway 467 in front of the Cal-Maine Foods plant. Visitors are welcome from sunup to sundown. There is no charge. For more information, call 601-446-6502 or email the Historic Properties division.

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The Coker House, near Edwards (Hinds County), was restored by MDAH in 2008-09. These images show the structure prior to restoration and the final result after completion of the project. Located on the Champion Hill Civil War battlefield, the Coker House sustained fire from Federal and Confederate artillery and served as a field hospital during the battle on May 16, 1863.

The house was built in 1852 by the Coker family in the vernacular Greek Revival style popular at the time. The restoration incorporated as many of the original materials as possible, however as you can see from these images, the house was extremely deteriorated and many parts of it could not be saved.

New interpretive signs, which will be installed at the site later this year, detail the history of the Coker House and tell the story of the Battle of Champion Hill, placing it within the larger context of the Vicksburg Campaign.

The Coker House is located about 3 miles east of Edwards on Highway 467 in front of the Cal-Maine Foods plant. Visitors are welcome from sunup to sundown. There is no charge. For more information, call 601-446-6502 or email the Historic Properties division.

Interior images coming next…

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